If you’ve been around Laundromat Resource for a little bit, then you probably know that there are at least 10 Reasons Why Laundromats Are The Best Investment You Can Make. If they’re such a good investment, you’re probably wondering how to buy a laundromat. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
We’ll walk you through the process of buying a laundromat from start to finish. The video below walks you through it and we’ll hit the highlights in this post. If you want more detailed information, be sure to join our community here at Laundromat Resource and receive your FREE e-book, The Keys to Buying Your First Laundromat.
There are three main places that you can find a laundromat for sale. Each of them has their benefits and obstacles. I always recommend that you utilize all three techniques simultaneously to some degree when you’re looking for a laundromat to purchase. Here are the 3 main sources of finding a laundromat to buy:
Brokers are the gatekeepers to most laundromat sales. Sellers usually enlist the services of a broker to list their laundromat for them. Therefore, getting on the email lists of various laundromat and small business brokers in your area should get you access to deals before they hit the internet for the world to bid on. The positive of going through a broker is that you might have earlier access to deals, resulting in a better buy for you. The downside is that brokers aren’t cheap and ultimately you’re the one who pays the price (even though technically the seller typically pays the broker at the close of escrow).
Internet- The convenience and speed of finding a laundromat for sale online makes this an attractive option. You can see a wide variety of laundromats for sale and the numbers associated with them. The downside is that, often, although not always, the laundromats listed online are ones that the primary investors on the broker’s email list have passed those deals over. It’s up to you to decipher why. There are various websites online that list laundromats for sale, but I’ll just point out Laundromatforsale.com as one option.
Speaking with owners- A method I have found particularly effective is speaking directly with laundromat owners. When searching for a laundromat for sale, I’ll drop into a laundromat when I drive by it. If the owner is there I will strike up a conversation and let them know that I’m looking for a laundromat to buy and ask them if they are selling theirs. If they aren’t, I always follow up by asking if they know anyone who is selling one. This method doesn’t scale as well as working with a broker or browsing the ‘net in your jammies, but it can land you a good investment when you find one. The main downside of this method is that you don’t benefit from the guidance of a broker to help the transaction along. But, with a good lawyer, escrow company, and/or title company, it is more than possible to navigate the transaction without using a broker.
I wrote a very good article (if I do say so myself) on 8+1 Proven Ways to Finance a Laundromat that you should read if you’re looking to answer the financing question. The high acquisition cost is definitely the largest obstacle in buying a laundromat, so if that is a concern for you, definitely read that article.
But, as an overview, there are 2 main categories of financing a laundromat purchase and 1 bonus option.
The first category involves you funding the laundromat. This could range from paying all cash, borrowing from retirement funds, or equity in a property to buy your cash flow machine.
The second category involves other people funding your investment. This could range from bank loans, private loans, including seller financing, or assuming existing loans. This category offers the benefit of leverage when utilized wisely and can be very powerful.
The bonus option is combining multiple financing strategies to structure a profitable deal while minimizing your upfront capital investment. The abundance of creative financing possibilities is one of the great benefits of entering this industry.
Once you find a laundromat to purchase, you have to determine the value of the laundromat. We have many blog posts and YouTube videos about this, but here’s a quick explanation as to how to arrive at a value of a laundromat. This is explained in much more detail in the FREE e-book, The Keys to Buying Your First Laundromat, that you receive when you join the community here at Laundromat Resource.
Laundromats are valued based on a multiple of the Net Operating Income (NOI). The NOI is a number that is derived by subtracting the expenses of the business, not including loans, from the income of the business. For example, if a laundromat brings in $100,000 per year and has expenses of $70,000 per year, the NOI is $30,000 ($100,000 – $70,000).
Once the NOI is determined, you can apply the multiple to that NOI and determine the value. A 3.5-5 multiple is typical right now. So, with a $30,000 NOI, you can expect to pay between $105,000-$150,000 ($30,000 x 3.5, $30,000 x 5).
There are a lot of variables in determining where along the 3.5-5x spectrum the multiple should be, but there are two main factors that will get you pretty close.
The first variable to pay attention to is the age and condition of the equipment. If the equipment is older (more than 10-12 years old) that will put the multiple down close to the 3.5-4x. If the equipment is newer (5 years old or less), that will push the multiple up in the 4.5-5x range.
The second variable to consider is the lease. A short lease (less than 10 years left) and a relatively high lease to income amount (greater than 30% of gross income) will cause the multiple to be lower (3.5-4x). A long lease (15 years or more) and a relatively low lease to income amount (less than 25% of gross income) will cause the multiple to be higher (4.5-5x).
Watch for our weekly webinars focusing on How to Analyze a Laundromat Deal for a more in-depth look into laundromat analysis.
Once you’ve made an offer that is accepted, you enter the escrow period. During this time many things will happen. Your primary role during this time is to address the 4 Pillars of Due Diligence. Again, for more detail sign up to join us in the Laundromat Resource community and read the FREE e-book, The Keys to Buying Your First Laundromat. Here are the 4 Pillars of Due Diligence:
In short, you need to verify the income. There are a few tried and true ways to do this, including a coin count with a water meter reading, a water calculation, bank deposit statements, and tax returns. The more of these you can utilize the fuller the picture you will get on the actual income of the laundromat.
NOI is made up of income AND expenses. A lower income than reported will lower the value of the laundromat, but so will higher expenses. Be sure to verify the actual expenses with the actual bills, lease agreements, contracts, etc.
It is important to make sure that the laundromat is set up for long term success. This includes having a solid, long-term loan, machines in good condition, and infrastructure that will hold up over time.
While you are conducting your due diligence, it can greatly benefit you to look for ways to increase the value of the laundromat when you take over. This will lead to increased cash flow for you and more equity in the business adding to your net worth. Be sure to download our FREE value-add checklist on our resources page to help you identify potential areas to increase the business. No email required!
After you’ve done your due diligence, it is time to renegotiate your original offer based off of the numbers that you have uncovered. A laundromat purchase should be made based off of solid numbers, NOT off of potential or good feelings. Be sure to take the opportunity to renegotiate your offer with the new information you have uncovered during the due diligence phase.
You now know how to buy a laundromat. The most important step now is that you take action. It is one thing to know how to buy a laundromat, but knowing how to buy a laundromat won’t put money in your pocket. You have to get started.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably seriously considering buying a laundromat. But even if you’re not sure, I want to encourage you to sign up to be on our Buyer’s Email List. This is just a list of interested investors from across the United States and Canada who want laundromat investment opportunities in their area sent to them.
Laundromats for sale come across our desk all the time and when one comes across our desk in your area, you’ll get an email with information about that laundromat for you to analyze. There’s no obligation and no spamming. We simply want to give you the opportunity to find financial freedom through laundromat ownership. To get laundromats for sale in your inbox, join the Laundromat Resource Buyer’s Email List (BEL) and sign up here!